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Boxing Spotlight: The British Light Middleweights

The domestic 154 pound weight class is really looking like it can have the potential to have some great match ups in the coming years. The talent is beaming from this division and I think it can't be ignored. As a fan of British boxing, I believe this has to be one of our strongest weight classes.

Jamie Moore, 30-3 (21), who is from Salford, looks like he's on the make or break point of his career. He looks as if he's entering the world level and he needs that push to get him out of the domestic scene. At 29 years old, Jamie offers a lot at the 154 world level and having only gone the distance twice in nearly six years shows he has power.

His most noticeable victories were over Matthew Macklin, which could have been Fight of the Year and was memorable to anybody who follows British boxing. How Moore and Macklin continued to fight at that high of a work rate was beyond me.

A former British and Commonwealth Champion, Moore also has a great victory over Sebastian Andres Lujan, who recently handed the great Jose Luis Castillo a one sided drubbing. Although 2008, in terms of opposition, has been disappointing for Moore, I believe 2009 is going to be where he really pushes his career.

Another exciting 154 pound prospect is the experienced British Champion Ryan Rhodes 40-4 (27). I believe Rhodes has found his best weight class if he wants to succeed in his remaining years. He's 31 years old, but he's coming off two great victories, against Gary Woolcombe and Jamie Coyle.

The Woolcombe fight showed that Rhodes is going to be around causing all sorts of problems for the British 154 weight class, and his age certainly doesn't show that he will have problems with the other domestic level fighters. Rhodes, like Moore, is as at the make or break part of his career and with his next fight against top ranked light middleweight Vincent Vuma, it shows that he cant afford to lose anything at this later stage of his career.

The Vuma fight is for the WBC international belt and if Rhodes can win this, it will certainly boost his WBC ratings and he may get a world title shot if he can get some good wins in 2009.

A fighter who has really impressed me over the last few years has to be Bradley Pryce, 27-6 (17). Seven straight victories after his close defeat to world ranked Mick Jennings shows that Pryce is on the warpath to fight the best at 154.

With the training of Enzo Calzaghe, Pryce is improving every fight in my opinion. He's the Commonwealth Champion at 154 and has made some noticeable victories fighting for it, particularly the wins over Anthony Small, Ossie Duran and Andrew Facey.

At 27, Pryce still has years on Moore and Rhodes, and his most recent victory over Marcus Portman puts him in line to face any British 154 pound fighter and give them a great fight. Pryce is pushing through the ranks and has a WBO number 5 rating and in 2009, I can see him being matched up with any top light middleweight.

Although for Pryce, I feel he needs one more convincing win to really show what he's made of. The Rhodes match up I feel will be a great test for both men and I hope it can happen in the near future.

The other British contenders at 154 who certainly need to have a mention are Anthony Small, 20-1 (14), who is coming off a stoppage win against Freddy Cruiel and is getting himself back on track after his defeat to Pryce back in 2007.

Many people think Small was all mouth after that defeat, but he beat Takaloo, an established fighter on the domestic scene, by a convincing knockout. Small, I feel, is picking himself up and will have a say in the domestic level at 154 in 2009.

Thomas McDonagh, 32-1-3 (6), is another fighter who may belong at this 154 pound stalemate. Although his record may look good, I feel McDonagh has really struggled since being beaten by Wayne Alexander in 2006.

McDonagh hasn't really had a noticeable victory since then and he had a recent draw with Andrew Facey, who showed he couldn't keep up with Pryce or Moore and has been beaten convincingly by both men. It shows that McDonagh may find it hard against the tougher 154 pound fighters. He's worth the mention, but in 2009, McDonagh needs a real big push in my opinion and if he doesn't get it, I can't see him doing much else than beating low ranked fighters.

The Experienced Andrew Facey, 19-5-2 (6), is a fighter who may still be able to contend at the top. However, he is the oldest out of the bunch at 36 and has lost to Pryce and Moore. Although he did have a draw against McDonagh, it shows that Facey may not be able to do much more.

I believe Rhodes would also be too much for Facey and at 36 years of age, he's getting on a bit. 2009 will be his last push and if he can get a good convincing win like he did against Gary Woolcombe back in 2007, you never know in boxing, Facey may get another shot at the British title.

Other possible contenders are Matthew Hall and Martin Conception.

The light middleweight situation has made me imagine that a little tournament could occur between these men to really sort out the domestic scene in the UK. All fighters offer a lot of potential and I feel that for a British boxing fan, a tournament would be very enjoyable to watch.

Round One:
Moore vs. Small
Rhodes vs. Facey
Pryce vs. Hall
McDonagh vs. Conception

Semi-Final
Moore vs. Rhodes
Pryce vs. McDonagh

Final
Moore vs. Pryce

Winner
Jamie Moore

I believe that this tournament would ultimately be won by Jamie Moore, as he has shown to me he really does belong on the world level. His recent performances show that he really would be too experienced for Small and would stop him in the later rounds. Small, I don't feel can take the pressure of such a stronger fighter of Moore's class and I feel he has his number.

The Moore vs. Rhodes fight would be close in the early rounds I believe, but when Moore really steps up the gas, I just feel he has too much ability for Rhodes. I can see the fight being won by a wide UD in Moore's favour and this will really push him on to the last fight with Pryce.

I believe this fight would be a case of who wants it more. Pryce has proved that he can't afford to lose again and I believe this will result in a knockout either way. But the knockout would come from Moore.

I believe that Pryce at the start would be able to trade well with Moore, but I believe Moore's work rate with power shots will prevail. Moore would keep a strong pace and would outwork Pryce in the later rounds. Moore, I believe, would stop Pryce in the closing rounds in what would be a memorable fight.

I believe that British boxing fans deserve great matchups, which the 154 weight class can produce. Boxing within the UK I believe is at a real high and it's really enjoyable to watch. Matchups like Moore vs. Pryce I feel can't be denied for us to watch and let's hope that 2009 can really deliver for the 154 British fighters!

About Tam Seddon

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